The belleville spring, created in the mid 19th century, is named after Julian F. Belleville (credited as the inventor of the belleville spring). Belleville disc springs share many of the same characteristics as a general washer. Bellevilles are conical in shape and are designed to be loaded in the axial direction. The advantage of a Belleville Washer or Belleville spring is that it provides a spring type characteristic while simultaneously acting as a washer. There are many names used for the spring including but not limited to belleville washer, belleville spring, helical spring, conical spring, conical disc spring, etc.
A popular use for the belleville spring is where heavy load requirements in restricted space is necessary. Some variables required for the design of a belleville spring include outside diameter (De), inside diameter (Di), material thickness (t), and dish height (h0). Infinitely variable spring characteristics are achievable by the arrangement of disc springs into columns stacked in series or in parallel.
Belleville washers provide high load capacity in small spaces; a characteristic not inherent in ordinary coil springs. Belleville washers have the ability to achieve linear or non-linear load deflection characteristics as well as maintain high tension in bolted applications such as heavy switchgears, buspar, etc. Belleville Springs can also compensate for different expansion rates in joints while maintaining required tension. Belleville Springs offer flexibility in deflection and load characteristics as disc springs can be stacked in series, parallel, or any combination of the two.